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Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)

The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme


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The authors are solely responsible for the content of this report. Material included herein does not represent the opinion of the European Community, and the European Community is not responsible for any use that might be made of it.
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Legislative Drivers & Sectoral Plan Review of TIDE Estuaries

5b. Best Practice

This report has examined many of the management plans active within the four estuaries, highlighting best practice examples and the management options which can be shared between the TIDE partners to be integrated into future estuary management documents. Examples of best practice to take forward include:
  • Both nature and economic interests should be equally and actively involved in developing management plans. This has successfully worked in all four estuaries by identifying potential synergies between nature and economy.
All four estuaries have non-statutory management plans primarily to ensure that the habitats and species of the estuaries maintain their favourable condition. These plans are by nature multi-sectoral, integrated and cover the full extent of the European Marine Site but as they are non-statutory, their success is based on stakeholder implementation. To ensure best practice in all estuaries, these plans need to harmonise the different users within the respective estuaries with the requirements of Natura 2000 and Water Framework Directive objectives. They should bring together and consult various interest groups and relevant authorities. The plans should also be continually reviewed to ensure updated aims, objectives and action plans for management of the estuaries.

Best practice examples include the Humber Management Scheme in the Humber, the Integrated Managementplan Elbe, Integrated Managementplan Weser and the Nature Development Plan for the Scheldt Estuary. It should also be noted that while a Natura 2000 management plan has been developed in the Netherlands, as required by the Dutch Nature Protection Act, a Natura 2000 management plan is not required in Flanders for the Scheldt.
  • The creation of unified management decisions and the avoidance of overlapping plans.
The Master Plan Coastal Defence in the Weser has demonstrated that a unified management framework for coastal protection can be developed despite the number of different federal states and authorities involved. In reaction to the Flood Risk Management Directive, all four estuaries have comprehensive flood risk management plans in place derived through their environment protection agencies and local authorities/federal states. These management plans have been developed on a whole estuary scale, instead of a administrative basis, which avoids duplication of effort and possible overlap and omissions.
  • Open communication between statutory authorities, stakeholders and users within an estuary will lead to common goals being met.
All four estuaries have shown good practice in using stakeholder and advisory networks to facilitate the development of many of the plans. One case in point are the River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) and other programs of measures as required under the Water Framework Directive. The RBMPs have been successfully developed on both the local scale e.g. the Humber estuary and on the international scale e.g. the Elbe overcoming administrative boundaries.


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